Tag: life skills

What I Learned From a Money Management Class (Newbie Level)

What I Learned From a Money Management Class (Newbie Level)

Does it feel like your money is in control of you, instead of you being in control of it? If so, I’m passing along the highlights from the money management class “Give Yourself a Raise,” taught by the nonprofit, SNAP. The volunteer who taught the session I went to, on February 2nd, works at a bank.

Have a long term spending plan, instead of spending money randomly (SNAP). Build your plan with SMART goals: specific, measurable, agreed upon (meaning that you truly want to do it), realistic, and timed (SNAP). For example, I just checked when my bill for running Psychology Plus is due, and it turns out that it’s in a couple of months. The bill will be around $100 (for the year) and, since it’s about 10 weeks away, I’m saving a little over $10 per week so that I can maintain my WordPress plan. It would’ve been easier if I had started saving from the first day that I signed up for it, but at least there’s still time to salvage it.

Write down your spending goals, sources of income, and purchases that you’ve made (SNAP). I agree with her about writing all of this down, because food, bills, household items and more add up so fast that we just can’t keep track of it all in our heads. I tried to wing it, but sometimes, I miscalculated. When that happened, sometimes companies like CenturyLink would try to run my card without success, which must have been frustrating for them. I’m lucky that I still have my internet, phone, and most of my other services (I did lose my Meetup organizer account. Oops).

I’d say that if you have multiple sources of income, and/or your income fluctuates, it’s even more important to keep that aspect of your budget written down. If something changes, such as a cut in food stamps, or a raise at your job, write it down quickly so that you don’t forget. As soon as you sign up for another service that will charge you monthly or yearly, write it down.

The volunteer poked fun at “ostriches with their heads in the sand” who just hope everything will work out instead of taking an objective look at the numbers of their income, expenses, and financial goals. I was that ostrich, but I’m easing my head out of the sand. I’ve written down my disability and food stamp amounts, as well as most of my bills, such as my cell phone bill, which is $38.45 per month with tax. I still have work to do on it, but have made progress.

Budgeting can be unnerving. Overall, though, it’s less scary to know exactly what we have to work with. If you’d like to take a money management class, I found out about this one on a library’s events page. Good luck.

 

Sources

Works Cited: class designed by Jay MacPherson, financial counselor with SNAP’s Financial Access program

Image: by Shae Dennis (me)

 

Guest Post From My Mom: Tips for Preventing Fires While Cooking

Cooking can seem scary at first, but following some simple procedures can make it much safer.

In Spokane, Washington, several fires have been in the news recently. One of them was about a house that burned down because of “unattended cooking” (Lake).

Practicing safe cooking techniques is easy.

First and foremost, don’t leave anything unattended in the stove or on the oven. According to the National Fire Prevention Agency, the leading cause of home fires is unattended cooking (“Cooking Safety in the Home”). Check the food regularly and use the timer as an easy reminder of when the food is done cooking.

Some people may feel especially anxious when cooking with a stove top or hot plate because they worry about burning their food, burning themselves by accident, or perhaps even burning their house. The National Fire Prevention Association has several tips on how to cook safely with oil. One of the best tips is to gently add food to the hot pan. Another great tip is to keep a lid handy.

(Editor’s note: cooking has been one of the aspects of my own anxiety disorder, and I can attest that it has gone down a lot after learning these tips from my mom).

There are other options, too.

Crockpots, for example, are easy to use. They can even be left unattended for a few hours.

Microwaves are affordable, and many recipes are available online for free. Microwaves turn themselves off when their time reaches zero.

Rice pots are inexpensive and easy to use. Some models even come with recipes in the instruction booklet.

 

Works Cited

Lake, Ariana. “Spokane House Fire Displaces Eight People.” KXLY, accessed 13 Aug 2018,¬†https://www.kxly.com/news/spokane-house-fire-displaces-eight-people/780782269.

“Cooking Safety in the Home.” NFPA, National Fire Prevention Association,¬†https://www.nfpa.org/public-education/by-topic/top-causes-of-fire/cooking.